We all have aims and targets for our business, no matter how big or small. By creating a Marketing Plan you can turn your wishes into a goal(s), and create a road path to focus on that can grow your customer base, increase referrals and keep your clients close!
What is the difference between a Marketing Strategy and a Marketing Plan?
A Marketing Strategy will detail your marketing objectives, give a market review, show your current situational analysis and the knowledge you have for your products and your target market.
Your Marketing Plan will take your strategy and show how you are going to achieve your goals, through what channels, messaging, possible campaigns and your budget and targets.
Key elements for your Plan….
- Your Marketing budget
Ideally a Marketing Plan starts with a budget, no matter how small. The way you spend that budget can impact on future activity. How you decide to allocate your budget can work in a number of ways, and it may well cover areas such as:
- Raising brand awareness - brand focused activity so people know you are there!
- Acquisition activity – acquiring new customer through different activities - get the perfect customer
- Retention activity – how to keep customers coming back for more
- Research – you may wish to do some market research
- Collateral – you may have to allocate part of your budget to creating your marketing materials
- Objectives and targets
Do you wish to generate leads? Raise brand awareness? Increase your data lists? Increase your social media followers? Ideally you will have a mix of targets to achieve over a period of 12 months.
Be as precise as you can and outline your key objectives or targets and what you will do to achieve them. If you have a number of different products with different features remember to treat them separately.
Hold yourself accountable, take the time to do what you need to do so you can focus your resource in the right places to achieve results.
- Marketing Channels
Once you have your budget you can then start to look at which channels are relevant to your target market and what the potential cost may be to have a presence. For example, you may feel local press advertising is suitable for you, so understanding the publication costs for this will help outline how much budget you may wish to allocate to this channel.
Or you may want to promote your business through social media, consider who your audience is and what they want to hear - not what you want to tell them!
Consider a mix of activity - not everyone is in one place!
- Activity schedule
Consider creating a monthly activity schedule outlining what activity you will be doing when, and for which products. More detailed plans can spin off this per activity if required
Plan your activity to suit your target market, so for example if the summer months are your busiest, then plan in your activity and your messages and be prepared with your collateral and follow-ups.
But also consider when your quiet times are and allow for this in your budgeting and forecasting. It’s very rare you will need to spend the same amount every month, and consider external influences on your activity.
- KPIs and tracking
KPIs (or Key Performance Indicators) are what you can measure that activity by. So if you know from experience that Adwords is forecasted to generate 10 enquiries a month for every £200 spent, this gives a baseline on which to monitor and measure.
Track all activity where you can. From website visitor stats, email stats and social media stats, to enquiries (from where) and conversion to actual sales, with the value of the sale. All this information over time will help you better understand what works for your business, where to make changes and what to stop. It will also show any product or seasonality trends.
Share your plan
Share with key stakeholders in the business and get the support whether that be the Sales guys, the Call centre or your Ops team. They need to have an understanding of what presence you will have in the market place, when and what you will be saying so they can align their behaviours and messaging to support the plan – providing consistent and cohesive engagement with the customer will be essential.
Don’t leave it in the drawer
A marketing plan is something that should be referred back to and updated on a regular basis. It will provide the real focus and accountability for your marketing activity, giving you insight as to how to change and improve things.